Home / Technology / News /  Indian eSports is very much alive, despite PUBG Mobile ban

NEW DELHI: The sudden ban on PUBG Mobile was a huge setback for Indian eSports. But that hasn’t deterred eSports companies and gaming community from moving on and experimenting with other games and platforms.

Starting this week, Nodwin Gaming, former organisers of PMCO (PUBG Mobile Club Open) and PMPL (PUBG Mobile Pro League) South Asia 2020, is holding a streamer driven gaming event called India Plays. The online event revolves around indie battle royale game Fall Guys. Released in August, Fall Guys is a PC and console game with millions of downloads.

The day one of the India Plays Fall Guys event has already created a lot of buzz and saw participation from leading Indian gamers and streamers including Tanmay Singh also known as Scout, Naman Mathur also known as Mortal, Animesh Agarwal also known as 8bit_Thug, Chetan Chandgude also known as Kronten and Samay Raina. The tournament is being hosted by standup comedian Tanmay Bhatt and esports caster Ocean Sharma.

“The Indian gaming and esports markets are largely driven by gaming influencers, streamers and pro-players. The narrative they build around every game and their communities is strong enough to attract the youth of an entire nation. This time adopted a rather unorthodox way to do things with a funky title like Fall Guys," Akshat Rathee, MD & Co-Founder, Nodwin Gaming said in a statement.

Early this week, eSports company Esports Club announced the Dell TEC Pro League around popular shooting game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) with prize pool of 15 lakh. The league will last 5 months, starting from October and will involve participants from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. CS:GO is currently available only on PCs and consoles.

Another eSports company Global eSports is working to fill the void created by the ban on PUBG Mobile by pushing for a comeback of Fortnite on the Indian gaming scene. They have started engaging with gamers who are currently playing the game in India. They recently organised the Global Esports Fortnite Invitational involving over 77 teams competing for a prize pool of $200. The objective was to engage with Fortnite gamers.

Though immensely popular worldwide, Fortnite on mobile never achieved the same heights as PUBG Mobile in India partly due to its limited availability. The game was only available through Epic Games’ webstore for Android users. It was finally released on Google Play Store this year, only to be removed along with the iOS version from the Apple App Store over the direct payment dispute. Epic Games has also taken Apple and Google to court alleging that their monopoly over the app marketplace and the exorbitant fees they charge is throttling competition and innovation.

After covid-19 outbreak many eSports tournaments were either annulled or shifted to online mode. According to eSports analytics form Newzoo’s revised figures, the global eSports market is still expected to generate revenue of $1.05 billion in 2020. India with its recent boom in online gaming is widely regarded as a key market for eSports and competitive gaming.


Abhijit Ahaskar

Abhijit writes on tech policy, gaming, security, AI, robotics, electronics and startups. He has been in the media industry for over 12 years.
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